Author Archives: Vicki

Review in scenekunst.no of Gone, Gone Beyond in OSLO

http://www.scenekunst.no/sak/psykedelisk-meditasjon/
KRITIKK 15.10.2021 Mariken Lauvstad
KinoKammer
Vicki Bennett (People Like Us) / Lasse Marhaug:
Gone, Gone Beyond + For My Abandoned Left Eye
Black Box Teater / nyMusikk / Double premieres October 13, 2021

The art event Kinokammer consists of two works made by noise artist Lasse Marhaug and the British video artist Vicki Bennett, better known under the artist name ‘People Like Us’. Both works are world premieres and are shown as a collaboration between Black Box theater and nyMusikk. CineChamber is a cross-genre format based on a concept developed by San Francisco-based Recombinant Media Labs, called CineChamber . The format frames the audience in a 360-degree moving audio and video landscape.

At the Black Box theater, Kinokammer is a so-called double ticket . First Marhaug’s work For My Abandoned Left Eye (2021) and then Bennett’s Gone, Gone Beyond (2021). The public can bring the wine glasses from the foyer into the exhibition hall. Rows of chairs are set up along three of the room’s four walls, while scattered seat cushions are placed on the floor. Thus, the audience will consider other spectators’ eyes and reactions as part of the art experience. Before the screening of Marhaug’s work really begins, an atmosphere is established where small talk and wine drinking are buzzed in the room for several minutes. Whether this is intentional or not, it creates a kind of ‘we’ in the room, an experience of sharing something. This sets a precedent that adds an extra dimension to the art event that will grow and develop throughout the screenings.

Marhaug describes his work as a ‘post-capitalist-science-fiction-noise film’. It is so far a decent genre description, but I experience in a way the work as more ordinary than that, at least visually. We are in a world that is preferably in black and white. We see images and fragments of forest and nature against hard building structures and remains and traces of man-made objects. Garbage, a sneaker, a sofa, an animal foot. The totality appears raw, wet, cool and hard, not only visually, but also acoustically. Occasionally, the film material is contrasted by abstract images, such as massively pulsating black spots, close together against a white background.

A mass bombardment that challenges the senses
Each projected movie sequence apparently has its own and ever-changing soundtrack. This constantly creates new and different layer-on-layer effects. The soundscape gives, among other things, associations to machine repetitions and massive metal grinders against crackling and crackling in various qualities, auditory textures that for a few moments remind me of the feeling of stinging icy rain or penetrating intense wheezing in the ears. Suddenly, small interruptions occur with the absence of noise before new images and sounds are fired at us like projectiles. It is a mass bombardment that challenges the senses and the distinction between impression and disturbance. Finally, I’m not sure if I actually hear sampled cries, the noise of a full room of screaming people, or if it’s just my brain that tricks me into thinking I sense these cries through the noise. I go out filled with a kind of unpleasant dizziness and with aching retinas. The work leaves an eco-deterministic turmoil in me that I need far more than thirty minutes to digest and reset myself from, and this also constitutes my objection to two such different works being put together.

After the break, we are thrown out on a completely different journey. This time, some have lain down on their backs, some close their eyes, some just sit relaxed and sip on the evening’s second or third glass of wine. All four walls are projected close together with flaming candles. The picture is obviously strikingly kitsch, almost ironic. Gradually we can hear sounds reminiscent of a crowd of stomping boot steps mixed with an indefinable hiss from insects and crickets, and a diffuse hum from distant, manipulated choruses. It is difficult to interpret and place the soundscape, and I also do not have time to get very far before the whole room is almost sucked through a kind of visual tunnel. The bass makes the floor below us vibrate, and we are pulled at breakneck speed through countless projected doors. This estimate reinforces the illusion of being in a simulator. It is as if a virtual wind has suddenly blown us away and we are suddenly sitting on a flying carpet, traveling through the artist’s subconscious, where playful pop cultural references are replaced by nightmarish and disturbing images. The audience looks in all possible directions as if to orientate themselves in constantly new places.

As if David Lynch were to take ayahuasca in the desert
The editing technique is extremely good, and the dramaturgy has a kind of kaleidoscopic associative form at the same time as each picture is just so easy to interpret that you can get caught in a new hook that throws you in the head. new associations before being torn loose and thrown into the next. This is as if David Lynch had taken ayahuasca in the desert and made a film of what he hallucinated afterwards. We are constantly somewhere between dream and nightmare, for example when we see Julie Andrews dancing carefree between tree trunks while war helicopters thunder across the sky while the world goes up in flames and explodes around her. We see prairie pictures with saguaro cacti and hear the sound of unpleasant radio signals. The chimney sweep from Singing in the Rain disappears into animated pipes, we see oil barrels burning and growing nebulae, barely hearing the sound of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both sides now’, glimpsing the globe from space (or is it a disco ball?), being drawn to the sound of lyre boxes and suddenly surrounded by giant funfair horses.

In the popular cultural references, a darker contemporary commentary is hidden. Most of the references are from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and in contrast to beautiful images of the universe’s darkness, celestial bodies and galaxy fog, an experience is created that time flows through space and pulls us through the cosmos at relentless speed. The work opens the gaze to the paradoxical and random of our popular cultural history, the powerless and merciless in that we have created what we have created, and nothing else.

The work also makes me philosophize about what can be called a performance. There are no actors or actors here, but I experience in return that we audiences become part of it. At one point a man rushes out of the room, a woman overturns a bottle, some get up from their chairs and walk around smiling or looking. None of this bothers me as it would in many other contexts. At one point there is one who laughs, and after this it is as if something in the room dissolves, the reactions become freer and more expressive. People respond and come up with small exclamations. The work would therefore not have been the same if I experienced it alone, and then maybe it’s a performance anyway?

In sum, I still think the two parts of tonight’s double ticket should have been shown separately. They are both so strong and intense works that they leave different resonances and reflections it would have been nice to have time to dwell on separately.

Review as pdf

The Wire: Music By Any Means at Somerset House

A series of three talks programmed by The Wire magazine looking at different strategies and systems for making music and organising sound. 

Wed 20 October 2021 | 18.45 – 20.30 | In person £8
Lancaster Rooms, New Wing & Online
An in person event from Somerset House. If you are unable to join us on the evening, a recording will be archived and available to view via a ticketed link. 

https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/vicki-bennett-opening-doors

This in person event will also be streamed live from Somerset House. If you are unable to join us on the evening, a recording will be archived and available to view via a ticketed link.  Music By Any Means has been designed to show how anything can become music, from objects to actions, archives to rituals, and how anyone can make it, regardless of any previous musical experience or ability. In the process of demystifying the processes of sound organisation and music making, the series will illuminate other ways of being in the world through sound, bypassing existing orthodoxies to enable and empower new creative activity.  
 
The talks, which will include demonstrations and performances, will be presented by O YAMA O (Rie Nakajima and Keiko Yamamoto), People Like Us (Vicki Bennett), and Elaine Mitchener; all artists who use aspects of film, theatre, performance, visual art and other practices to inform and develop new and distinctive approaches to making music and organising sound.  Music By Any Means will be available to audiences both onsite and online, with each event broadcast live from Somerset House Studios. 

Vicki Bennett explores the processes of making audiovisual content, working with archives and found footage.

Using collage as a compositional tool opens up endless opportunities to create and experience results that are more than the sum of their parts, opening doors (and windows) to let light in and move beyond limited and repetitive ways of creative thinking.  

In this talk, Vicki Bennett discusses and demonstrates her creative process making audio-visual content, working with archives and found footage, showing how she sources and organises this material into finished works which break the rectangle, smashing the thin screen into tiny fragments, looking beyond the frame, climbing through to see what’s behind. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session. 

Print edition for sale

We are now selling limited edition prints through bandcamp:
https://peoplelikeus-vickibennett.bandcamp.com/merch

We have some prints that we made for our 2011 solo show The Doors of Perspection – each was made in an edition of just one, and we are selling them.  We have six different ones that we will gradually put up.

One sold earlier, here are the second two that we’ve just put up, more being added:

https://peoplelikeus-vickibennett.bandcamp.com/merch/edition-of-one-streetwalking-2011-c-type-print-on-dibond-large-artist-print AVAILABLE

https://peoplelikeus-vickibennett.bandcamp.com/merch/edition-of-one-in-retrospect-2011-c-type-print-on-dibond-very-large-artist-print AVAILABLE

Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio Suffolk

People Like Us will guest on Jon Wright‘s show on BBC Radio Suffolk on Monday 12 July 2021 – in a segment called SPILL Spins – selecting 4 significant tracks and talking about them. We will be on after 7pm (UK time). “SPILL” is SPILL Festival, who are partnering with the BBC on this project, pending an announcement very soon!
LISTEN : https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09m8qmm

Afterwards it will post as a stand alone programme up for 30 days.
LISTEN HERE:
bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p09p5hlb

30 Years of People Like Us – Cafe OTO gig with PLU and friends

30 YEARS OF PEOPLE LIKE US – PEOPLE LIKE US + POREST + GWILLY EDMONDEZ + IRENE MOON + ERGO PHIZMIZ at CAFE OTO London

CAFE OTO, LONDON
TUESDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2021, 7.30PM
£16 DOOR | £14 ADVANCE | £8 MEMBERS

An evening hosted by Vicki Bennett (People Like Us), featuring live performances from Porest, Gwilly Edmondez, Irene Moon, Ergo Phizmiz and People Like Us.

Get tickets well in advance here because Cafe OTO gigs are selling out quickly.
https://www.cafeoto.co.uk/events/30-years-of-people-like-us/

Interview on Over The Edge, KPFA

20 May 2021 11.59PM PST (that’s 8AM UK 21 May): PLU interviewed by Jon Leidecker on Over The Edge on KPFA radio: https://kpfa.org/program/over-the-edge/

Hour 1 Vicki and Jon in conversation (recorded May 2021)
Hour 2 Live Session with PLU, Wobbly and Don Joyce on Over The Edge, KPFA (2002) Hour 3 Live Session with PLU, Wobbly, Irene Moon and The Evolution Control Committee on WFMU (2002)

People Like Us exclusive audio mix for The Wire

Vicki Bennett compiles a comprehensive soundtrack to her Wire cover feature, piecing together 30 years’ worth of work in a new mix:

“Collage makes sense of things in a manner that our brain understands”, says samplist Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us, speaking to contributor Abi Bliss in The Wire 447. “Because of these fragmental parts and the way we assemble information, collage is like the working of the brain”.

In her cover feature interview, Bennett discusses the influence of Buddhism, the subversion of popular culture and the auto-regenerative nature of cut and paste, as well as her audio-visual multi-screen project Gone, Gone Beyond, which is set to tour the UK and Oslo this year. Here, the prolific artist reflects on 30 years in the field of collage and sampling with a retrospective mix, packed full of solo and collaborative releases and radio works spanning her long career.


People Like Us “Music Of Your Own” (2000)
People Like Us “Smash And Grab” (1994)
People Like Us with Adrian Phillips aka Mr Rotorvator “Country Drives” (1995)
People Like Us “A Crossed Line” (1995)
People Like Us, Wobbly, Peter Conheim & Don Joyce (KFJC California) (1998)
People Like Us, Charles Powne (Chuckles) “Untitled” (KBOO Oregon) (1998)
People Like Us “Jingle” (1999)
People Like Us, Wobbly & The Jet Black Hair People “KZSU 14 Sept 99” (1999)
People Like Us with Rik Patten, Drew Daniel, MC Schmidt, Peter Conheim & Adrian Phillips “Hi There” (2000)
People Like Us “Whistle Song” (2000)
People Like Us “Sugar And Splice” (2000)
People Like Us “Nobody Does” (2000)
People Like Us “Dolphy” (2000)
People Like Us “Millennium Dome” (1998)
People Like Us “Swinglargo” (2000)
People Like Us “Stifled Love” (2002)
People Like Us with MC Schmidt “Scott Slim” (2002)
People Like Us & Wobbly “OB & Cha Cha (Live At Other Cinema, ATA)” (2002)
People Like Us, Wobbly & Don Joyce “Baby is Three II Over The Edge” (2002)
People Like Us “Gongexeva” (2003)
People Like Us & Kenny G “I’ve Got You” (2003)
People Like Us, Matmos & Wobbly “Morning (Live At SF Art Institute)” (2003)
People Like Us, Matmos & Wobbly “Dolly Pardon (Live At SF Art Institute)” (2003)
People Like Us “The Doody Waltz (John Peel Session)” (2004)
People Like Us “Listen To The” (2004)
People Like Us “Downtown Once More” (2004)
People Like Us “Blue Bayou” (2006)
People Like Us “Everyday” (2006)
People Like Us “Stand By Your” (2006)
People Like Us “Social Dance Song” (DO or DIY, WFMU) (2007)
People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “A Bastard’s Waltz” (2007)
People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “Pierrot’s Persecution Mania” (2007)
People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “Snow Day” (2007)
People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “Soggy Style” (2007)
People Like Us “On The Rooftops Of London” (Mixing It, BBC) (2007)
People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “In The Waking” (2008)
People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “Moon” (2008)
People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “Singin’ Femme Fatale” (2008)
People Like Us “Lavender White” (2010)
People Like Us & Wobbly “Female Convict” (2010)
People Like Us & Wobbly “Pain” (2010)
People Like Us “Sing” (2011)
People Like Us “The Sound Of The End Of Music” (2011)
People Like Us “Abridge” (2013)
People Like Us “Who’s Watching Who” (2014)
People Like Us “Shopping” (2014)
People Like Us “No One Is An Island” (WDR Radio Piece) (2016)
People Like Us “All On A Beautiful Day” (2016)
People Like Us “The Mirror” (2018)
People Like Us “Listen With Your Eyes” (2019)
People Like Us “Forever” (2018)

Read Abi Bliss’s interview with People Like Us in The Wire 447. Subscribers can also read the article online via The Wire’s digital archive.

https://www.thewire.co.uk/audio/tracks/wire-mix-30-years-of-people-like-us

The Wire Cover Pic!

This is on sale at The Wire’s online shop from 13 April 2021 and from selected newsagents, record and book shops from 15 April 2021. The digital edition of the issue is published online at Exact Editions and in the Wire app.

Includes a career-covering interview and the above cover picture. On The Wire website we’ve shared a 4.5 hour (no point trying to be popular now, is there!) mix of People Like Us, Spenser Tomson has made a selection of PLU tracks, and our 2020 movie Fourth Wall will screen later in the month.

ALL COMMISSION ENQUIRIES OR BOOKINGS FOR GONE, GONE BEYOND ARE TO BE DONE DIRECTLY WITH US THROUGH OUR CONTACT PAGE.

Oscillation: Tuned Circuits

Online and Brussels Mill, Belgium
29|04|2021 – 02|05|2021

Four day festival in Brussels taking its name from radio pioneer Daphne Oram. The festival will also broadcast audio via its website regardless. Featuring talks, concerts and workshops from People Like Us, Catherine Lamb, Daphne Oram, Farida Amadou, Lucretia Dalt, Goodiepal & Pals, Áine O’Dwyer, Jessica Ekomane, Jonáš Gruska and Lukas De Clerck. Online and Brussels Mill, 29 April–2 May.

Here’s an interview conducted by Henry Andersen of Oscillation Festival Vicki Bennett about process.

People Like Us will have a special one hour audio mix broadcast on the radio, and you can watch The Mirror online via their website, for the entirety of the festival.

https://oscillation-festival.be/

Welcome Abroad on vinyl!

Welcome Abroad LP on Discrepant [CREP84]
Releases 4th JUNE, 2021, taking pre-orders from 31st MARCH 2021
(digital download straight away and we send the LP as soon as we get them)

We’re taking orders for Welcome Abroad on vinyl!  Official release date 4th June. 
https://peoplelikeus-vickibennett.bandcamp.com/album/welcome-abroad

Discrepant Press Release: Continuing our ambitious People Like Us vinyl reissue program with Welcome Aboard – a strangely relevant 10-year-old album (originally released in May 2011 on Illegal Art) when People Like Us aka Vicki Bennett became stranded in the US after the Icelandic Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption closed much of northern Europe’s airspace.

Volcanically marooned in Baltimore and NYC, Bennett utilized some of her “free” time to work on the album and even gained audio contributions from fellow experimental musicians Jason Willett (of Half Japanese) and M.C. Schmidt (of Matmos) via her extended stay.

Bennett derived thematic material of displacement, travel, and a longing for elsewhere from the natural disaster that caused her own predicament. Now strangely echoed by the Covid-19 outbreak and the various grounding of planes and stay at home policies worldwide.

While the general mashup culture often centres on the instant gratification of seamlessly juxtaposing hooks, People Like Us tracks transform the source material into collages that are equal parts dissonance and pleasure, making artful commentaries on our culture and Bennett’s own existential amusement within such a wondrous world. No one could have predicted how relevant this album would have been 10 years later.

LP TRACKLIST:
A1. Sing
A2. What Will I Do
A3. Push The Clouds Away
A4. The Sound Of The End Of Music A5. Wonderful Wonderful
B1. Hush
B2. Driving Flying Rising Falling
B3. The Atlantic Conveyor
B4. Wandering
B5. Ever

This is the LP vinyl version with an instant mp3 download of the longer CD version of the album.

500 Units

Welcome Abroad is the soundtrack to a dream – overlaying a cabaret with the circus, a music hall with the radio, a nightclub with the movies. Finely tuned sounds from the collective unconscious, fitted together with care and clarity and skill, producing a hallucinatory landscape that shifts and slides, shimmering with each new sample. Julie Andrews duets with Jim Morrison? Damn.” – Steinski

Includes unlimited streaming of Welcome Abroad via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.